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Hunting Lease use of Easement

Discussion in 'Easements & Right of Way Law' started by Jason Stanley, Sep 9, 2022.

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  1. Jason Stanley

    Jason Stanley Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I have a situation that I can't seem to find any clear information on surrounding the use of an easement on my property. I own 600 acres of planted trees and in the furthest back corner of our property is about 300 acres that is land locked due to a non-navigable waterway that keeps the landowner from accessing that portion of his land from his main tract. The landowner has never had a use for this portion of the land so for almost 30 years he has leased it to our family, since to access the land you must cross almost the entirety of our property. About 10 years ago the original landowner died and the land was then passed to his son. The lease continued but only for a couple of years until the price was raised well beyond the value of the land and we terminated the lease of the land. At that point no discussion of the road was ever mentioned other than when the landowner ask permission to harvest timber which we granted on a temporary basis and required the timber company to acquire liability insurance to our property.

    Recently without notification the land had been leased out to a group of hunters and we only discovered this after running into them while they were using the road. At that point we stated they were denied access to the use of the road which has thus begun the conversations that were not sure how to proceed with.

    I'm trying to figure out exactly how much access I do have to provide. Because I have never denied the land owner nor do i ever intend to the use of the road even though it is not stated in any deed mine or his. I'm very ok with him and his immediate family's use of the road should they ever want to access, but the leasing to random hunters year after year is where I have an issue. There are so many liablity, safety and privacy concerns with crossing that much of my property not to mention the use for his monetary gains at the expense of my road.

    So, I am trying to determine does he actually have the right to give permission to other to use this road or do i have the right to deny this access to those leasers?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your best solution can be obtained by retaining the services, counsel, and advice of a real estate attorney located in the vicinity of your 600 acre parcel.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    He does.

    You do.

    Then he has the right to sue you if he doesn't agree.

    Then a judge has the right to decide which one of you is right.

    Meantime, you've both spent many thousands on litigation.

    Have you even tried to work out a compromise?
     
  4. Jason Stanley

    Jason Stanley Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We have reached out to two different lawyers, and both came to a similar conclusion that of course he has the right to use the road which is not our concern. But neither could provide clear council on what kind of rights he possesses when it comes to leasing. Both pretty much said that it would be up to a judge to make a decision and that would probably come down to how he felt about his thoughts which would be slightly unpredictable. So, we kind of didn't get any clear answer other than what we already knew.
     
  5. Jason Stanley

    Jason Stanley Law Topic Starter New Member

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    For now we have come to a compromise because out of all the leasers only one wants to use that portion of the property which we got an agreement from that leaser he would be the only one allowed to cross and he must inform us when he is going to be using the road for safety purposes. The others are not allowed since they have agreed to not hunt that portion.

    I'm trying to avoid any type of court situation, but I'm also not scared to go all the way if we feel good about getting the outcome were after. Everything points to it would be a gamble and up to a judge to decide and it appears neither party would truly know that outcome.

    We also are not trying to get taken advantage here either. So as you say he does have the right to tell anyone they can use our road, but do we have the right to request compensation for that use as he is profiting from the access we are providing. Or as we did with the timber company propose that each crossing member must carry a certain level of liability for the fact that we have timber and cabin they pass by.
     
  6. retic

    retic Member

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    Does this mean that the neighboring land is one contiguous parcel and the waterway bisects it so it's not truly landlocked, it's just difficult/inconvenient to access the 300 acre piece without going across your property?
     
  7. Jason Stanley

    Jason Stanley Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Correct. And during most of the summer months the wetland is dry and they can walk through to it.
     
  8. Jason Stanley

    Jason Stanley Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My main goal in acquiring this information is to determine how to pursue the future of this land lease. Because this is the first time in my lifetime, we have had this situation come up and the current leasers are understanding at the moment. As with any type of land lease though it can change hands year after year, so I am trying to get a handle on how to get something permanently in place as to avoid going round and round each year. Of course, I would like to say no altogether to anyone other than the landowners having access, but I understand if I don't have fully have that right.

    I could be wrong, but I also feel somewhere in the laws I should have some sort of say so in the use of my own property. Because I pay taxes on the piece ground that road sits on. He does not pay those taxes. Because this isn't just a road that is a couple hundred feet like a driveway. This road travels almost a mile snaking throughout just about our entire property which disrupts some of our hunting using as well.

    Not to mention our cabin sits on this road and myself along with other family members with our children stay at this cabin. It doesn't seem right that on private piece of property that someone can pass by that cabin in the middle of the woods at any times of the day and night.

    I truly do appreciate everyone's input.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2022
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your right to use and enjoy your property hasn't been extinguished under law.

    The question you need to ponder, in order to be fully satisfied, is how much will it cost you to make sure your rights are so secured.

    That potentially means a lawsuit and the attendant costs thereto.

    Only you can make that determination.

    You also possess the ability to sell the property.

    If I were facing your conundrum, I'd have no hesitation selling it.

    I wish you well, mate.
     
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  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Except that it IS right. A landlocked property has a right to an easement for the owners and their assigns to use it for entry and exit any time they have to. And for ordinary use you cannot demand compensation.

    The leasing of the land to hunters adds a wrinkle to that.

    Whatever agreement you come to with the current owner should be memorialized in writing to follow the land regardless of ownership. And it should be recorded as public record.

    You can put whatever limitations in it that you want or you can limit it to entry and exit only and leave it to future owners to make temporary exceptions.
     
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  11. OldSurveyor

    OldSurveyor Member

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    And they have to go court entirely at their own expense and burden of proof to get it without the agreement of the fee title owner.

    If I am missing something, let me know. I am not seeing any access granted to the "landlocked" parcel which does not appear to be permissive in one form or another.

    As we all know at this point permissive use can revoked. As for the "landlock" that situation seems to be merely seasonal due to a "wetland". If the "landlocked" parcel could be made accessible for a few thousand dollars over the wetland, or even a hundred thousand dollars, it is not landlocked in any legal sense, but simply inconvenienced.
     

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